Being a pregnant working woman is no joke, especially in India, where women are solely responsible for the housework. But as the times are progressing, so is the Indian society. We are now acknowledging a pregnant woman’s rights at the workplace by giving them paid maternity benefits. And no! One should not see these efforts as charity. It is a social responsibility of the corporate sector and the government to ensure that pregnancy does not hinder a woman’s career growth or financial independence.

For long the Maternity Benefits Act stood at 12 weeks of paid leave for women. However, it was only last year in March that the amendment of 26 weeks of paid leave was passed in the parliament. It stood as a great victory for women but not many women are aware of their rights under the Maternity Benefits Act.

For those who aren’t updated with the news, here are all the rights that you should know as a pregnant woman at work:

  • Under 26 weeks of paid leave, you can avail up to eight weeks before the delivery and the remaining 18 weeks of paid leave any time after giving birth. Women expecting for the third time after already having two kids still have only 12 weeks of paid maternity leaves distributed between six weeks pre-delivery and six weeks post-delivery.
  • Every kind of establishment be it private or public — factory, company, mine, shop employing 10 or more employees is liable to provide maternity leave benefits to its women employees.
  • Your employer must empower you with your maternity benefits at the time of appointment. The employer must also give it in writing or through an electronic medium and retain a proof according to the bill.

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  • Government employees who are pregnant get up to 180 days of paid leave in case of their first two children.
  • Women who adopt a baby are also eligible to get 12 weeks off from work from the date of adoption.
  • Since so many women today work from home, the Maternity Benefits Act also provides this as an option after women exhaust their paid leave. Women employees can discuss it with their manager and come to a mutual agreement.
  • The MB Amendment Act makes it compulsory for every establishment with 50 and above employees to have a crèche facility. In this setup, it allows women to visit the crèche at least four times in a day.

No! One should not see it as a charity for women. It is a social responsibility of the corporate sector and the government to ensure that pregnancy does not hinder a woman’s career growth or financial independence.

  • If a woman employee has a miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, then the bill assures them six weeks of paid off.
  • Pregnant workers also get a medical bonus of Rs 3500 from the companies that they work at.
  • In case a pregnant woman dies during her pregnancy then the employer will have to provide the maternity benefits up to the date of her death. If her child also dies after the death of the mother then the company has to pay the benefits for until the death of the child.
  • The company has to pay the benefits for the days off before delivery in advance after the employee shows proof of pregnancy. And the rest of the amount, the company must pay within 48 hours of the woman showing proof.
  • Lastly, if the woman dies due to pregnancy, then the benefits go to her nominee. If she hasn’t nominated anyone then to her legal heirs.

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